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New ‘Street STEM’ Trailer Has Students Lighting Up with Excitement

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“The future is STEM, and CTE is STEM.”

Brandon Beltz is a Career & Technical Education STEM Consultant for a new model of learning called Street STEM.

“Teachers contact me and we kind of set up different experiences for them ranging from Legos, to robotics, to coding, to drones, laser cutting, CNC…We communicate with the teachers and figure out what they’re working on, and seeing how the STEM activities can fit into their curriculum and what they’re doing, says Beltz.

With plenty of experience in the classroom— Beltz is no stranger to hands-on learning.

Beltz says, “I know what teachers face every day, so I can bring that into the classroom. Before this I was a teacher for 11 years, teaching primarily middle school, high school, which shop, small engines and drafting.” 

Serving 11 different school districts in the Charlevoix–Emmet Intermediate School District.

Beltz rolls up to the school with a trailer filled with new ways for students to explore math and science.

He says, “We can roll this out and take it to all the different districts that we have. Kind of eliminate some of those barriers of ‘I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, we don’t have the resources.’”

This traveling trailer is a new approach to learning. And students light up with excitement.

One student expresses, “I like learning with STEM. It’s very hands-on, especially when we do this. It makes it more fun than just sitting in a normal classroom doing nothing.”

Another student says, “My favorite part is the making– designing because once you’re done you can be proud of what you made, and show everybody. You’re mainly just using your hands and learning from experience, learning from challenges and mistakes.”

“This makes it different because you get to actually work with something and you don’t just have to read it,” says one student.

An incredible way to open up young minds to different opportunities…

“If we can just kind of get their brains turning at a younger age about different opportunities that they can have, it’s really important to get them thinking about where they can go and what they can do for their future,” says Beltz.

But it also gives teachers the chance to connect with their students without worrying about providing all that equipment.

Beltz says, “If I bring a piece of equipment in, and a teacher likes it, they get comfortable with it and they know how to use it, they can rent it out for a week afterwards and use it in their classroom without me.”

“They remember what they’re learning, they’re able to teach it to their friends, they’re able to troubleshoot the problems and issues that come up- I mean that’s how we learn best is when we can teach it,” says fourth grade teacher, Nancy Wind. 

Street STEM has already left a mark on so many Northern Michigan students…

Beltz shares, “We’ve impacted almost 1000 unique kids this year. Next year when we roll it out, we really hoping to impact over 400 teachers and over 5,000 students.”